Still Alive & Sun Beauty

I’m still alive. 

I’ve been cutting myself some slack and am allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling and so far I’ve not wanted to throw myself under a bus so I think it’s working 😉

Monday was hard for me.   I got two very unexpected pregnancy announcements that hurt my heart.  The first was from a friends Dad who caught me on FB and asked me if I had heard the great news.  My heart sank and I just knew that said friend was pregnant… with her third baby… her second baby is only 4 months old… The second one came from another friend who is pregnant with number 2.  Wonderful news except she delivered it with the missive that she wished it would have taken longer than the 2 months it did to happen and that morning sickness was a “bitch” to deal with all day every day long for 8 weeks.  *sigh*  I am happy for them, I really am, but I can’t help but wonder when (if ever) it will be my turn to have that happiness.  I ended up drinking a bottle of red wine on Monday night while watching Revolutionary Road (ps SO not the right movie to watch when you’re in an IF funk).

Other than that work has been hectic of late.  So it’s been a busy few days. 

So often on my way to or from work I see the most amazing skies.  The colours are so vibrant and it just looks so damn beautiful that I have to take a snap with my cell phone.  The pics I take never quite do the reality justice but I had to share two of my favourites from the last two weeks with you all.

Confused & Tearful

It seems that my mind is finally starting to process all that I’ve had to face in the last three months.  

We went away for the long weekend to my brother in law’s family game farm and it was just wonderful.  Awesome weather and stunning game drives and lots of “Young” family time. 

The kicker was that the setting reminded me so much of my Dad.  It was his kind of place through and through.  And my heart ached for the loss of him.  For the words unsaid to him.  For the times I snapped at him in anger that I can’t take back now.  So many regrets came to the fore.

The other kicker came in an unexpected form.  Seeing my in laws interact with my delightful nephews and seeing the love they have for their grandsons broke my splintered heart in half.  I really want to be able to share that with them.  I want to be able to give them that joy.  I want my husband’s children to be smothered with granparental love.  And it only drove home how woefully inadequate I’ve been in that department.  It sounds melodramatic but I could almost feel my womb ache with it’s emptiness.

So whilst we had a really good weekend away, I found myself at the brink of tears practically all the time.  I also started getting a scratchy throat and bad post nasal drip while we were away – I put it down to the dusty game drives. But it’s not to be.  My body is also telling me I need some me time.  Today I’m deep in the clutches of the firey scratchy “can’t swallow” throat, and the post nasal drip from hell.  My voice is on it’s way out and I can’t get myself to the doctor soon enough so she can book me off for tomorrow and I can try and get some sleep.

I called my friend last night to find out how her GIFT had gone that morning and ended up breaking down and crying with her.  She feels that I might be depressed and asked me to consider chatting to my FS about getting some anti depressants.  I’m not discounting that option at all but I just don’t feel like that’s the right thing for me.  My family has huge addictive tendancies and whilst I know that most ppl don’t get addicted to AD’s, I just can’t take that step right now.

I think that I need some time to just allow myself to feel everything that’s hitting me right now and that once I allow myself to get it all out and feel it that I’ll be able to find my way back to being “rainbow fart” Sam that I normally am.  Our blessings’s board has been fanning that flame in me and I’m really glad that we started it.

*sigh*  I don’t know, it feels like I had to hold it all together so much when my Dad died cos my Mom and sister lost it, and then there was the additional stress of the delay we had to deal with in getting him cremated and back to SA for his local memorial and our closure (even that weekend I had to keep it together cos Mom and my sister were so loskop and all over the place) and then dealing with the GIFT at the same time was too much.  (Guess in hindsight I should have delayed the treatment after all) I’ve had to work and just keep going and now.  Now my body and mind are saying “Time out girlfriend” and I have to listen.

Time to focus a bit on me and to stop worrying about everyone else’s opinions on whether I should stop or carry on trying or whatever.  Time to cry it out and to listen to what my heart and my body are telling me.  Time to learn to trust myself again.

One things for sure, this IF journey is not for sissies.

This week’s blessings…

…or most of them.  I forgot to take some photo’s cos I’ve been running out the house extra early this week to give a lift to a colleague to lives close to me… so without further ado, this weeks blessings!

Cos our close friends bought us full body massages so we could "chill"

Cos through it all there's him and I, still together.

Personally I'm more of a barefoot girl but none the less...

And the final one I managed to snap this morning before coming to work:

And it's a long weekend here in SA so WHOO HOOO!

 

Hope you all are enjoying your blessings!

Daily Grind

Bone clenching, gut renchingly tired

Eyes stinging from strain

Feet drag through mires of mud

Everything is an effort

Breathing is hard

Blinking is a danger – too close to sleep

Brain tells you to just keep going

Do all you can to get through the day

When all you want to do is curl up in a ball

And dive headfirst into sleep

Glorious restful sleep…

It does not come

the rest it alludes you

Sleep tempts you

Sleep covers you

Sleep drags you under

Yet you wake….

Bone achingly tired and exhausted

To start again

Dad’s Send Off

Its been a whole week since we had Dad’s send off at his best friends farm. It was a long, emotional weekend but it was good too.  It marked the beginning of closure for us who loved him best.

When we arrived there on the Friday afternoon it was good to see my Dad’s best friend Jerry and to just talk nonsense and get a few strong loves from him.  Jerry and my Dad had the most amazing friendship spanning over 37 years, they would often lose contact with each other but when push came to shove they were there for each other, no matter what.  That bond never broke and it showed in the work that Jerry had put in in clearing a spot beside the river for us to carry out Dad’s wishes and how he immediately told us his farm was available for us to take care of Dad’s last wishes.

Jerry on the right lighting his ciggie

Saturday the sun rose and the day was a beauty, just the kind of day that my father loved best.  Hot and sticky with not a cloud in the sky.  I could see him in my mind’s eye sitting on the stoep with his shirt off and catching a tan with his ciggie in one hand and a cold beer in his other, telling us he loved us.  He did this so often when I was a kid growing up… it was so his kind of day.  He would have loved it and gloried in it.

It was very hard pouring Dad’s ashes into the calabash Mom had bought.  My sister, cousin (my father’s brother’s son) and I just had tears rolling down our faces as we poured what was left of his body in for us to scatter in the Crocodile river.

There were plenty of people from Dad’s past (Selous Scouts, Army buddies and Rekke buddies) who came through for the memorial.  One thing I know for sure is that my Dad was well respected and loved by his fellow service men.  The stories they had to tell of him were wonderful to hear.  It was a part of him that probably only my Mom knew, his war days are days that he only alluded to in humourous terms to my sister.  But at the heart of it war is not fun.  War is scary and these men who served with my Dad got to know a part of him that we briefly got to view through their tales last weekend.

When the time came for us to say goodbye to Dad, it was hard, emotional and many tears were shed by those of us who loved him best.  But most of all we all remembered the good times and there was a lot of laughing and smiling and we truly celebrated my Father in a place he would have just loved.

It broke my heart to hear my Mom having to say goodbye to her best friend.

As we walked down the steps to the river to pour my Father into the river, the guests who had some to pay their respects heard a Fish Eagle cry.

It was a perfect day.

My heart rests easy now Dad to know that you are traveling with the river along the banks of the country you loved so passionately.  The sun beats down as the Fish Eagle cries and you are home.

Sala Gahla Baba. (Stay Well Father)

Blessings

It’s no secret that we’ve been through a little bit of the ringer of late.  But whilst our hearts are in the process of healing and we digest all we’ve been through in the last two months, I also wanted to remember that we are very blessed.  In many ways.

To that end I decided to write up a daily blessing on our black board in the kitchen, so that we would be reminded of the things that make our lives so good amidst the turmoil.

These are the first few that we’ve come up with… (picture quality sucks apologies, taken with my cell phone)

I’m hoping to continue with this daily blessing reminder to ourselves for a long time to come…

What are your blessings today?

The WTF Appointment

We had our WTF appointment with our wonderful FS yesterday. 

He was so apologetic about the fact that I had to find out that my cycle had failed on the same day I fetched my Dad’s ashes and kept on saying how he could not believe how much more I could take in terms of life handing me lemons (not in those exact words but you get the general idea)…

It just goes to show that when my gut tells me that I have a right to be worried about something, I need to trust it.  I was very worried about my 4 eggs that never made not even one measly embryo in the lab after my GIFT and well, after seeing my fert reports yesterday at our meeting no wonder I was anxious and “knew” there was something to worry about.  On day one of fert we had zero cells – that means that we never even had fertilization people!  Day two had a measly one cell on three of the eggs and then they arrested.  My FS’s theory (and it is just a theory but one I completely agree with) is that what happens in the lab often mirror’s what happens in the tube.  They have had cases of GIFT where the ferts in the lab were not great which still resulted in a pregnancy for that patient but the defining factor was that there WAS fert… We both felt that with zero ferts in the lab that more than likely not one of our eggs even ferted in my tubes either. 

And this has taken us both completely by left field.  There is no way that we would have even done GIFT if we felt that there was even the remotest chance of a zero fert.  My previous ferts have always been EXCELLENT.  Like 95 – 100% excellent. 

But now that it’s happened it’s opened up a whole new can of worms for us moving forward.  Our FS is no longer willing to take a chance on zero fert so any future treatment we do will be half ICSI half normal fert.  We discussed ZIFT briefly but we both feel that for us it’s best to keep me out of theatre and to go back to IVF/ICSI and from there we’ll see how embryo’s develop to decide whether we do a day 3 or day 5 transfer.

Cliff was also worried that perhaps his sperm is the issue at play here, and although all looks great on paper our FS said that often sperm looks wonderful on paper but there might be an underlying issue with it.  In order to cross this off the list we are going to do two things relating to sperm.  The first one is a relatively new procedure called HPA testing which will determine if his sperm have mature DNA or not.  The second thing we’re going to do depends on how many eggs we retrieve.  If we get 12 eggs or more (we’re definitely going to shoot for 12 and stim me a little more aggressively to try to get them) we’ll do a diagnostic donor sperm cross over comparison.  So we’ll take 2 or 3 eggs and use donor sperm on those and let the rest be fertilized by Cliff’s sperm and see the comparisons in the embies.  The theory is if there is an underlying issue with Cliff’s sperm this is where we may see it come through.  Personally though I don’t believe that there is an issue with sperm in our case.  Cliff’s samples have always been good and I don’t see that being an issue, but we’re doing it anyway just to ensure we’ve crossed it off the list of possibilities.

I brought up donor eggs and he categorically said that he would not take that course of action at all yet.  Our embryo’s have always looked really good and of course there was that chemical pregnancy which leads us to believe that there is still hope for us to conceive with our own genetic material.

Our wonderful FS also said that the challenge with our case was that there were no clear indicators for solution.  It was not a cut and dried case of saying “ok donor eggs are the way forward” or “donor sperm is the way forward” or “your uterus is too damaged you need to look at surrogacy”  and so on and so so forth. 

So that’s it.  The POA.

We’re taking a break from ttc though for quite a while.  We’re both exhausted by this journey now.  I need to take some time to re-connect with my husband, deal with my father’s passing away properly, and to just live my life a little.  Cliff needs some time to re-connect with his wife and to just live his life a little.  We’re going to start exercising together and will be getting ourselves back on track with a healthier lifestyle again.  We’ll go away for a couple of long weekends to just chill together. 

And actually I’m quite looking forward to that.